Hello fellow 'hounders. I know it sounds lame, but I am planning a surprise Australian 'staycation' for my SO. He really would love to go to Australia, so I am planning to re-create that. What types of food should I have? Also, where can I pick up foods/ingredients that are specific to Australia? I am located in South OC. Thanks!
Emu breast, crocodile tail, mud crab, and kangaroo steaks may all somewhat difficult to procure in L.A.... Yes, we ate each of those items when we visited "down under"...
Realistically, get some HUGE Santa Barbara prawns, throw them on the grill with some steaks. Then, get some Cantonese style noodles, pop open a can of VB (Victoria Bitters, because only tourists drink Foster's), and there you go!
If you do go to Australia one day, check out Lizard Island. Awesome.
Unfortunately those in the Land of Oz don't like to share their VB with us Yanks, but Bristol Farms often carries Coopers' various beers for about $2-$3 per... I've seen Foster's Bitters at Beverage Warehouse as well.
Meat pies and sausage rolls are standard take-away foods for Aussies, but I don't know where to get those here. The meat pies in Oz are compound food items where a meat pie is topped with mashers, peas, gravy, and some local twists. You could probably find recipes online.
Pavlova is pretty common over there - nice light dessert considering how hearty much of the food in Oz can be.
Vegemite is huge in Oz and the rest of the South Pacific, but most over here consider it to be an acquired taste. Aussies spread it on toast with butter, peanut butter, cheese, and just about anything else that goes on toast, and wash it down with a nice cup of tea with lots of cream and sugar. A breakfast table in the South Pacific is amiss if a jar of Vegemite (or Marmite) isn't present. This might serve more as a prop for you folks if you're not familiar with the taste already.
Grilling is huge - mostly marinated beef, lamb, shrimp, and lobster (called crayfish). Again, you might search online for recipes.
Fortunately, one of the biggest exports from Australia is wine. Grab a nice bottle of Shiraz to go with your steaks or leg of lamb. D'Arenberg makes a great Shiraz (2005 Dead Arm) for about $50, but they also offer a nice Shiraz/Viogner blend (2006 Laughing Magpie) for about $19.
Violet Crumble Bars!
Call around to the English food suppliers - often they also carry Ozzie & Kiwi foods too - there's one in that old hotel in Fullerton, but I can't think of the name - they might have some things.
Tim Tams, dim sims, aussie burgers with beetroot and fried egg, meat pies with tomato sauce (ketchup), Moreton Bay bugs (bay lobsters), lamingtons, vegemite, lamb chops, Lan Choo tea, Weetbix, crumpets.
You can get lots of the grocery items (Tim Tams, many varieties of Arnott's biscuits, Milo, meat pies, sausage rolls, beer, wine) online at Simply Australian (www.simplyoz.com). There are other online vendors like this. I've ordered from them before and had a good experience.
On the made-from-scratch side, you can make your own sausage rolls and meat pies with frozen puff pastry. Pavlova is a must. I've seen recipes saying the pav should be dry throughout. I strongly disagree - it should be marshmallow-y soft in the inside and crunchy on the outside. Top with whipped cream and berries and squeeze a few passionfruit over the top. YUM! Also a nice lamb roast or, as mentioned, grilled lamb chops. And the one thing I have every time I'm in Sydney is the aforementioned incredibly yummy burger with beetroot and a fried egg. Sounds strange, but it's delicious!